9 December 2008
Secondhand smoke triggers fertility problems
Women exposed to second hand smoke - either as adults or children - are much more likely to face fertility problems, say scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center. The study, of more than 4,800 non-smoking women, showed those who were exposed to second hand smoke six or more hours per day as children and adults faced a 68 percent greater chance of having difficulty getting pregnant and suffering one or more miscarriages.
"These statistics are breathtaking and certainly points to yet another danger of second hand smoke exposure," said Rochester's Luke J. Peppone. In the study, half of the women grew up in a home with smoking parents and nearly two-thirds of them were exposed to some second hand smoking at the time of the survey. More than 40 percent of these women had difficulty getting pregnant (infertility lasting more than a year) or suffered miscarriages, some repeatedly.
"We all know that cigarettes and second hand smoke are dangerous. Breathing the smoke has lasting effects, especially for women when they're ready for children," said Peppone. Many of the women in the study grew up in the 1940s and 1950s, long before the surgeon general issued the first warning about the dangers of cigarette smoking in 1964. Since then, smoking bans and government-funded, anti-smoking campaigns have encouraged smokers to quit and discouraged others from starting.
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Source: University of Rochester Medical Center